Doberman

The Doberman Pinscher (alternatively spelled Dobermann in many countries) or simply Doberman, is a breed of dog originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann.

Doberman Pinschers are among the most common of pet breeds, and the breed is well known as an intelligent, alert, and loyal companion dog. Although once commonly used as guard dogs or police dogs, this is less common today. In many countries, Doberman Pinschers are one of the most recognizable breeds, in part because of their actual roles in society, and in part because of media attention (see temperament). Careful breeding has improved the disposition of this breed, and the modern Doberman Pinscher is an energetic and lively breed suitable for companionship and family life.

Appearance

ennel club standards describe Doberman Pinschers as dogs of medium size with a square build and short coat. They are compactly built and athletic with endurance and speed. The Doberman Pinscher should have a proud, watchful, determined, and obedient temperament. The dog was originally intended as a guard dog, so males should have a masculine, muscular, noble appearance. Females are thinner, but should not be spindly.

Temperament

Doberman Pinschers are the target of a mistaken stereotype of ferocity and aggression. As a personal protection dog, the Doberman was originally bred for these traits: it had to be large and intimidating, fearless and willing to defend its owner, but sufficiently obedient and restrained to only do so on command. These traits served the dog well in its role as a personal defense dog, police dog or war dog, but were not ideally adapted to a companionship role. In recent decades, the Doberman Pinscher's size, short coat, and intelligence made it a desirable house dog. Although these dogs are mistaken for their aggression, they are extremely loyal. They can easily learn to 'Respect and Protect' their owners. In response, they are excellent guard dogs that protect their loved ones. They are generally sociable towards humans and can be with other dogs, ranking among the more-likely breeds to show aggressive behaviour toward strangers and other dogs but not among the most likely. They are very unlikely to show aggressive behaviour towards their owners. There is evidence that Doberman Pinschers in North America are calmer than their European counterparts because of these breeding strategies. Because of these differences in breeding strategies, different lines of Doberman Pinschers have developed different traits. Although many contemporary Doberman Pinschers in North America are gentle, loyal, loving, and intelligent dogs, some lines are bred more true to the original personality standard. Although the stereotype is largely mistaken, the personality of the Doberman Pinscher is peculiar to the breed. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that Doberman Pinschers have a number of stable psychological traits, such as personality factors and intelligence. As early as 1965, studies have shown that there are several broad behavioral traits that significantly predict behavior and are genetically determined. Subsequently, there have been numerous scientific attempts to quantify canine personality or temperament by using statistical techniques for assessing personality traits in humans. These studies often vary by identifying different personality factors, and by ranking breeds differently along these dimensions. One such study found that Doberman Pinschers, compared to other breeds, rank high in playfulness, average in curiosity/fearlessness, low on aggressiveness and low on sociability. Another such study ranked Doberman Pinschers low on reactivity/surgence, and high on aggression/disagreeableness and openness/trainability.

Intelligence

Canine intelligence is an umbrella term that encompasses the faculties involved in a wide range of mental tasks, such as learning, problem-solving and communication. The Doberman Pinscher has ranked amongst the most intelligent of dog breeds in experimental studies and expert evaluations. For instance, Psychologist Stanley Coren ranks the Doberman as the 5th most intelligent dog in the category of obedience command training based on the selective surveys he performed of some trainers as documented in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. Additionally, in two studies, Hart and Hart (1985) ranked the Doberman Pinscher first in this category. and Tortora (1980) gave the Doberman the highest rank in trainability. Although the methods of evaluation differ, these studies consistently show that the Doberman Pinscher, along with the Border Collie, German Shepherd and Standard Poodle, is one of the most trainable breeds of dog.

Aggression

In addition to the studies of canine personality, there has been some research to determine whether there are breed differences in aggression. In a recent study, aggression was divided into four categories: aggression directed at strangers, owner, other strange dogs and rivalry with other household dogs. This study found that the Doberman Pinscher ranked relatively high on stranger-directed aggression (behind the Dachshund and Chihuahua), but extremely low on owner-directed aggression. The Doberman Pinscher ranked as average on dog-directed aggression and dog rivalry. Looking only at bites and attempted bites, Doberman Pinschers rank as far less aggressive towards humans, and show less aggression than many breeds without a reputation (e.g., Cocker Spaniel, Border Collie and Great Dane). This study concluded that aggression has a genetic basis, that the Doberman shows a distinctive pattern of aggression depending on the situation, and that contemporary Doberman Pinschers are not an aggressive breed overall.

Although recent studies do not rank Doberman Pinschers as the most aggressive breed, their size, strength and aggression towards strangers makes them potentially dangerous. Studies of dog bites and dog bite fatalities have shown that the danger of attack by Dobermans is relatively high, and that children are five times as likely to be bitten by a Doberman as a Labrador Retriever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1979 and 1998, the Doberman Pinscher was involved in attacks on humans resulting in fatalities less frequently than several other dog breeds such as pit bull�type dogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Husky-type, Wolf-dog hybrids and Alaskan Malamutes. According to this Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, one of the most important factors contributing to dog bites are related to the level of responsibility exercised by dog owners.

History

Doberman Pinschers were first bred in the town of Apolda, in the German state of Thuringia around 1890, following the Franco-Prussian War by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Doberman served in the dangerous role of local tax collector, and ran the Apolda dog pound. With access to dogs of many breeds, he aimed to create a breed that would be ideal for protecting him during his collections, which took him through many bandit-infested areas. He set out to breed a new type of dog that, in his opinion, would be the perfect combination of strength, loyalty, intelligence, and ferocity. Later, Otto Goeller and Philip Gruening continued to develop the breed to become the dog that is seen today.

The breed is believed to have been created from several different breeds of dogs that had the characteristics that Doberman was looking for, including the German Pinscher, the Beauceron, the Rottweiler, the Thuringian Sylvan Dog, the Greyhound, the Great Dane, the Weimaraner, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Manchester Terrier and the Old German Shepherd Dog. The exact ratios of mixing, and even the exact breeds that were used, remain uncertain to this day, although many experts believe that the Doberman Pinscher is a combination of at least four of these breeds. The single exception is the documented crossing with the Greyhound and Manchester Terrier. It is also widely believed that the old German Shepherd gene pool was the single largest contributor to the Doberman breed. A book entitled The Dobermann Pinscher, written by Philip Greunig (first printing in 1939), is considered the foremost study of the development of the breed by one of its most ardent students. It describes the breed's early development by Otto Goeller, whose hand allowed the Doberman to become the dog we recognize today.

After Dobermann's death in 1894, the Germans named the breed Dobermann-pinscher in his honor, but a half century later dropped the pinscher on the grounds that this German word for terrier was no longer appropriate. The British did the same a few years later.

Doberman Pictures

Doberman - Classifieds

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